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The Emerging Technologies Lab (ETL), established in 2019, is Bowdoin College’s first virtual reality (VR) research laboratory. The ETL aims to augment research and learning at Bowdoin College in an expansive range of academic disciplines by using novel immersive technologies.

The applications of virtual reality for education and research are limitless. The ETL can program an experiment to a researcher’s exact specifications, complete with surroundings, sounds, and dynamic events. This provides both a great degree of experimental control and an extremely immersive experience for subjects, qualities which are often at odds in conventional experiments.

The ETL can also deliver powerful learning aids in coordination with professors, such as immersive 360-degree footage of a location of interest or a virtual object that can be held and rotated as if it were real. These principles can be applied in diverse ways to any academic field at Bowdoin in order to enhance learning and research experiences.

The mission of the ETL is to provide the equipment, expertise, and vision needed to deliver these ambitious enhancements to coursework and research at Bowdoin.

The ETL is also committed to breaking down accessibility barriers at Bowdoin by making off-campus experiences, such as labs in the field, deliverable via virtual reality.